Wildfires And Smoke Increase In Yellowstone National Park, Forecast Could Bring Help From Above

Late-August's weather conditions -- hot, dry weather with gusting winds -- have allowed wildfires and their smoke to increase in Yellowstone National Park, but the weather forecast holds some promise for help from above.

So smoky have conditions been around the Cygnet Fire that the road between Norris and Canyon was at times closed Thursday evening, and closures were possible into the weekend depending on the winds and smoke.

"Although forecasts call for increased humidity and a strong chance for fire-dampening thunderstorms and rain showers today and through the weekend, the possibility for critical fire conditions still exists," a park release said Friday morning. "The fire danger level in Yellowstone remains at 'extreme,' and fire restrictions are in effect."

Here's a glance at the fires currently burning in Yellowstone:

Cygnet Fire: This lightning-caused fire 5 miles southwest of Canyon Village is just over 1,800 acres. Firefighters are working to protect a utility corridor south of the Norris-to-Canyon road, where the fire reached Thursday afternoon. A section of the backcountry trails and campsites near the area have been closed. It was discovered August 10.

Dewdrop Fire: This lightning-caused fire 9 miles southeast of Canyon Village is nearly 1,100 acres. Smoke will be visible from Dunraven Pass through Canyon Village and throughout Hayden Valley. It was discovered on July 29.

Range Fire: This lightning-caused fire 8 ½ miles southwest of Tower Fall is nearly 400 acres. This fire is not threatening any structures or roadways, but will likely produce a significant amount of smoke that will be visible from the road over Dunraven Pass and through the Tower Fall area. It was discovered July 26.

Other fires and smoke: Smoke from fires both inside and outside of the park may be visible along several sections of park roadways throughout the week. Visitors are asked to slow down and use extreme caution while driving where firefighting crews are working along roadways, especially between Norris and Canyon Village.

Weather: Monsoonal moisture moving into the area is forecast to fuel isolated wet or dry thunderstorms with gusty winds and a chance of lightning. Significant widespread rain is not expected, but lighter winds, slightly cooler high temps, and higher afternoon humidities may slow fire activity. Saturday is forecast to be much like today, with a cold front heading our way later in the weekend.

Fire Restrictions: Any fire which can produce an ash is prohibited in the backcountry. Smoking is prohibited along all trails and anywhere in the backcountry. Smoking is allowed in vehicles and along roads, near buildings, and in developed campgrounds or picnic areas if you are standing in an area at least three feet in diameter where nothing on the ground will burn. Campfires are allowed only in established fire grates or fire rings in picnic areas, campgrounds and housing areas. Charcoal grills are okay in these same areas as well. You can use portable stoves and lanterns which use propane, white gas, kerosene, or jellied petroleum for fuel anywhere in the park.

All roads leading to the park and all park entrances, roads, campgrounds, lodging, stores and other visitor services are open. Backcountry closure details are available at any park visitor center or backcountry office. Backcountry information can also be obtained by calling 307-344-2160.

Round-the-clock road information is available at 307-344-2117. Fire information is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2580, on the web at http://www.inciweb.org/unit/5382/, or on Twitter @YellowstoneNPS.